Farmers in a wheat field

Agricultural Business

Agricultural Business

Get Michigan State University’s world-renown agricultural education right here at SMC!

A unique partnership with Michigan State University allows you to earn a MSU certificate while also working toward an associate degree. 

  • About the Degree

    Agriculture plays an invaluable role in how the world functions because it fills our most basic needs: food, shelter, clothing, and environmental beauty. The agricultural business program will prepare you to join the force of people working to keep the world fed and healthy. 

    Whether you want to run a small farm, provide farmers with insurance to protect their investments, or help them find loans to grow their business, the agricultural business degree will equip with both the business know-how and agricultural expertise to pursue your goals with confidence.  

    While taking both SMC and MSU classes, you will explore plant biology and crops science, identify insect pests and diseases in crops, learn the principles of business management and economics, and more.  Depending on the certificate path chosen, you may also learn about ag technologies, marketing, business law, ag employee management, and more.

    You’ll finish with keen business acumen as well as the knowledge to “speak the language” of your field and help farmers and small ag business get the resources they need to thrive.  

    You’ll graduate with both a certificate from Michigan State University in agricultural operations and an associate degree in agricultural business from Southwestern Michigan College. 

    With this degree, you’ll be prepared to enter the workforce in agricultural-related business roles.

    Those wishing to further their education may pair the ag business associate degree with a bachelor’s degree in business management-professional track from Ferris State University at SMC. Courses may also transfer to other institutions; see an advisor for details.

  • What You’ll Learn

    View the full curriculum guide for the Associate in Applied Science in Agricultural Business.

    Note: The courses listed in the curriculum guide reflect courses taken as part of SMC’s associate degree. This courses must be paired with MSU certificate courses. For more on MSU courses, click here.

  • What Can I Do With an Agricultural Business Degree?

    The agricultural business degree is for students who want to run an ag-related business or work in ag sales or customer relations. 

    As society increasingly recognizes the importance of agriculture, career opportunities in agriculture become more varied. Working in agriculture does not simply mean working on a farm. Agricultural professionals work in many different kinds of environments and are needed to analyze and optimize soil health; maximize crop yield; operate drones to detect crop diseases; sell seeds and equipment; provide loans, advice, insurance, and more.

    Career Options

    • Food Safety Technician
    • Produce, Farm Market Sales
    • Equipment Sales
    • Fertilizer and Seed Sales
    • Crop Insurance
    • Farm Credit/Loans
  • Difference Between the Ag Tech and Ag Business Degrees

    SMC also offers a similar degree in agricultural technology.

    The ag tech degree is for those who want to work more hands-on with plants or animals on a farm, in orchards or in a greenhouse setting.

    The ag business degree is for those who want to work on the business side of agriculture or farming, such as running a small farm, ag-related sales, ag insurance, or ag loans.

Michigan State University at Southwestern Michigan College

How the Partnership Works

Students complete a Michigan State University Institute of Agricultural Technology certificate in Agricultural Operations at SMC. They pair the MSU classes, which count as roughly half of an associate degree, with SMC general ed classes to earn an associate degree in agricultural business from SMC.


Agricultural Operations


Bachelor’s Degree Option

Earn a bachelor’s degree from Ferris State University on SMC’s Dowagiac campus.

The ag business degree can ladder in to the Ferris at SMC bachelor’s degree in business management-professional track.

Learn more about Ferris programs here.

Farmer entering data on a tablet in a field

Collegiate Farm Bureau

The Collegiate Farm Bureau is a student-led agriculture club focused on networking with peers, building leadership skills and developing career opportunities in agricultural fields. They often host ag speakers and ag-related events and travel to compete against CFBs across the state.

CFB is open to all students. 

Students in SMC greenhouse
William P. D. O'Leary Building


The William P.D. O’Leary Building is home to all math, science and agriculture classes at SMC. It is equipped with SCALE-UP science labs and advanced technologies.